Tag Archives: plum hollow

The Witch of Plum Hollow — Complete Story File

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The Witch of Plum Hollow — Complete Story File

actual photo of Mother Barnes shown to me by a family member

Love this photo of me SeanandMichael Rikley-Lancaster curator of the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum and Elaine Farley at the North Lanark Museum. It was a dark day out there today in Appleton today and we were under a tent.. But the picture came out great LOLOL. It has spirit..The Witch of Plum Hollow IS Reenactor Elaine Farley who highlighted her research today about local legend Elizabeth Barnes the Witch of Plum Hollow and debunked some myths about her. It was great…Love her a lot.. Read-The Plum Hollow Witch 101 – Mother Barnes


The homestead property of Elizabeth “Mother” Barnes, “The Witch of Plum Hollow.” Photo: James Morgan
Rural Ontario has always had its mystics. In Ontario’s Leeds County, it was Elizabeth Barnes, better known as Mother Barnes, the Witch of Plum Hollow. Her date of birth is unclear. Some sources say 1794; others say 1800.
The seventh daughter of a seventh daughter
She was from Cork in Ireland. When she fell in love with a young sergeant named Harrison her father, a colonel in the British Army, disapproved. So the couple eloped and moved to what was then Upper Canada. When Harrison died a few years later, Elizabeth married David Barnes, a shoemaker who had moved up from Connecticut. The couple ended up having nine children; six sons and three daughters.
In 1843, the family relocated to Sheldon’s Corners in Kitley Township, north of Brockville, not far from Lake Eloida and the village of Plum Hollow in the amusingly-named Bastard Township.
Barnes eventually left his wife and Elizabeth needed money to support her large family, so she turned to fortune telling, reading tea leaves and charging her customers 25 cents each—a large sum in 19th century Ontario. Her talents earned her the title “The Witch of Plum Hollow,” even though she did not live in Plum Hollow itself. She was the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and was also alleged to be part Spanish gypsy, which was credited as the source of her “sixth sense.”
A sketch of an elderly Mother Barnes. From Leeds and Grenville: Their first two hundred years, 1967.
Mother Barnes tells a famous fortune
Mother Barnes was a diminutive woman, barely five feet tall. She did tell a few tall tales though when it came to fortunes. People traveled from all over Canada and the North Country of New York to consult with her. Her more local cases involved finding lost livestock and solving crimes. A man named Morgan Doxtater disappeared in Charleston Lake. Mother Barnes directed the searchers to the place where his murdered body was found.
Her most famous customer was a lawyer from Kingston and aspiring politician named John A. Macdonald. The Witch of Plum Hollow told him that he would become the leader of a new country and that its capital would be at what was then known as Bytown, in those days a gritty lumber town. In 1867, the Dominion of Canada was formed. Bytown is now Ottawa and the capital city, and Sir John A. Macdonald was the first Prime Minister of the new country. Mother Barnes had earned her quarter.
Elizabeth Barnes died in 1886 and was buried in an unmarked grave in the Sheldon’s Corners cemetery.
An historic homestead
In 1892, local writer Thaddeus William Henry Leavitt published his short novel, The Witch of Plum Hollow, featuring Mother Barnes and her “sixth sense.” Today, her little cabin still stands behind a rail fence along Mother Barnes Road, just west of County Road 29. It’s on private property, and is posted with “No Trespassing” signs. Visitors cannot go inside, but they can park beside the road and have a look at this piece of the past along the back roads of Leeds County.

The Plum Hollow Witch 101 – Mother Barnes

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

The Witch Hollow of Lanark County

When Mother Barnes Made a Mistake? Beckwith 6th Line

The Witch of Plum Hollow Files- An Evening in Smiths Falls

Mother Barnes and the Missing Money of South March

Mother Barnes– The Colonel’s Daughter in Plum Hollow

An Interview with the Witch of Plum Hollow–Mother Barnes— The Ottawa Free Press 1891

The Witch of Plum Hollow and the Blacksmith

My Grandmother was Mother Barnes-The Witch of Plum Hollow

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

Plum Hollow Witch and The Mountain Man of Pakenham

FOR THE SUNDAY DRIVER 1990 — Then and Now

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FOR THE SUNDAY DRIVER 1990 — Then and Now

This was written in 1990. Somethings have changed, some things have not. I thought because a nice weekend is predicted that I would publish this old 1990 tourist blog.

Today’s drive takes you to four small villages founded at the turn of the century: Plum Hollow, Athens, Delta and Forfar. About a 90-minute drive south of Ottawa, you can purchase locally-made cheeses and candy, discover the history of the area through the Delta Mill Museum and admire the murals of Athens.

1971-The old cheese maker of Plum Hollow; Claude Flood; 73; warns the end of small cheese factories will mean the end to first-quality Canadian cheddar. Ontario’s small cheese factories are being strangled into extinction by new regulations and dwindling milk supplies.

First stop is Plum Hollow, where Blackland’s Country Candy factory is situated in a century-old building that used to house the Plum Hollow Cheese Factory. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and while you can still purchase locally-made cheese there, you will also find a tempting assortment of fudge, hard candies, jams and jellies and elegant filled chocolates. Colored wicker baskets and flower-printed boxes can be made into a gift hamper, filled with items from the shop. Choose your favorite of 16 flavors of hard ice-cream.

The Witch of Plum Hollow’s home– if you click here there are about 15 stories about the witch of Plum Hollow

The Plum Hollow Witch 101 – Mother Barnes

To get to Plum Hollow, take Hwy. 7 southwest. At Carleton Place, join up with Hwy. 15 which heads south through Smiths Falls. Connect with Hwy. 29 as you leave Smiths Falls and drive 36 kilometres south to Toledo. Veer to the ET3 right down Road 8, and turn left down Road 5 after Bellamy’s Mills. Another eight km will take you to Plum Hollow.

Athens

The village of Athens, farther south, has become famous in recent years for its historical murals painted on the sides of shops. Scenes take you back to a summer band concert and a picnic at the turn of the century and the working life of the community. Look for the likeness of “Duke,” the resident German shepherd, at the bottom corner of the lumber mill scene on the H & R feed store.

To get to Athens from Plum Hollow, drive south down Road 5 for eight km. Park on the main street and wander the sidewalks to view the murals. Before you continue your trip, take a few minutes to walk along the side streets of Athens. There are many beautifully kept old buildings, some of which are represented in the murals. Head south to Church Street and wander through the cemetery. Many of the moss-encrusted stones date back to the early 1800s and provide a glimpse into the hardships and events that ruled the lives of the people of the area.

House of Industry Athens Farmersville

Monument erected to honour 400 buried in unmarked grave

Farmersville 1859 County Directory (Athens)

Head north from Main at the Pro Hardware store. Next stop is the village of Delta, one of the earliest settlements in the township. From Athens, take Hwy. 42 west for 15 km. Delta is home to the oldest mill in Ontario, a beautifully preserved grist mill that’s the subject of many Keirsted paintings.

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In the early 1800s this mill was thought to be the best building of its kind in Upper Canada and today the Delta Mill Society is working to restore the building to working order. You can visit the mill for free between 10 and 5; displays of equipment in the ground-floor museum depict the history and operations of the mill and its patrons. You can purchase note-card photographs of the building at the gift counter. Now continue on to Forfar, 10 km west along Hwy. 42.

No Drinking in Delta! Did You Know this About Delta?

Forfar Dairy

The Forfar Dairy (open today from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.) is on the left as the highway veers west through the village. Here you can purchase Cheddar, which is aged up to four years, as well as whey, cream and various butters. The shop also sells flavored teas and mustards, cloth bags of dressing and muffin mixes as well as hard candy and honey. Next door, the Forfar Dairy gift shop is open from 10 until 5.

Stagecoach Restaurant

If you’re ready for a meal, continue about 10 km west along Hwy. 42 to the village of Newboro and the Stagecoach Restaurant. It serves brunch from 11 until 2 and is open for other meals until 9 p.m. You can return home through the scenic village of Westport, then up County Road 10 to Perth, or retrace Newboro Dennis Leung, Citizen your route back to Hwy. 15. Many readers have given us tips about this lovely area.

For a current up to date tourist information click below

The Backroads to Delta, Plum Hollow and Athens

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1995 fire Plum Hollow Cheese

They actually hadn’t produced any cheese there since the early ’80s, probably strong armed out of business along with other small producers by the likes of Kraft or Parmalat, an interesting story in itself.

Since then it functioned as a candy shop, and an antique shop but that’s the limit of my memory. The loss is a historical one for the area, one less monument to a time when a small producer could thrive along with the surrounding farms, etc.

It was a very picturesque factory located on a hill. Approaching eastbound on the road it pops into view across a golden meadow, approaching westbound it springs into view at a sharp curve in the road, the golden meadow stretching out behind it.

Plum Hollow

Begin hereThe Plum Hollow Witch 101 – Mother Barnes

The Plum Hollow Witch 101 – Mother Barnes

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The Plum Hollow Witch 101 – Mother Barnes
 -
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
12 Dec 1925, Sat  •  Page 2
Love this photo of me SeanandMichael Rikley-Lancaster curator of the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum and Elaine Farley at the North Lanark Museum. It was a dark day out there today in Appleton today and we were under a tent.. But the picture came out great LOLOL. It has spirit..The Witch of Plum Hollow IS Reenactor Elaine Farley who highlighted her research today about local legend Elizabeth Barnes the Witch of Plum Hollow and debunked some myths about her. It was great…Love her a lot..
The Witch of Plum Hollow’s home– if you click here there are about 15 stories about the witch of Plum Hollow
The Plum Hollow Witch 101 – Mother Barnes
To get to Plum Hollow, take Hwy. 7 southwest. At Carleton Place, join up with Hwy. 15 which heads south through Smiths Falls. Connect with Hwy. 29 as you leave Smiths Falls and drive 36 kilometres south to Toledo. Veer to the ET3 right down Road 8, and turn left down Road 5 after Bellamy’s Mills. Another eight km will take you to Plum Hollow.

Written in 1982

Few are aware that near the shore of nearby Lake Eloida the derelict abode of the Witch of Plum Hollow sits empty, ravaged by time and vandals. . However for three generations of Joynt women, descendants of Mother Barnes, a visit to the tiny cabin shortly before Halloween proved a sentimental journey of sorts.

Lera Joynt, daughter Carol, 11-year-old Susan Joynt and Lisa Joynt, 14, had varied reactions to the forlorn cottage. “I recall Grandpa Samuel Barnes telling of hitching up the horses for the long ride from Smiths Falls to Plum Hollow,” Lera reminisced. Sam, one of Barnes’ nine children, was a blacksmith and mayor of Smiths Falls in 1906.

Her daughter Carol felt a strong bond with her famous ancestor. Mother Barnes ‘gift’ to foresee the future appeared in every generation, she said. Lisa and Susan, daughters of Witch of Plum Hollow Painted by Henry Vyfinkel well-known farmer and auctioneer John Joynt, were fascinated. With visions of bats, broomsticks and black cats racing through their heads, they gingerly tip-toed through the debris. “There’s an old piece of wood in here that’s marked made in 1805,” Susan called out excitedly. Lisa reported with disappointment the rickety old stairs were gone. “I’ll come back in my old clothes and climb up there,” she told her grandmother. “I want to see the room where Mother Barnes read the tea leaves for all those people.” Lera Joynt’ disapproves of the dubious title of witch applied to her ancestor. “We don’t like it at all. Her kindly advice and honest predictions helped countless numbers of people.”

Over at Plum Hollow Cheese factory, Claude Flood explains why he and his late wife Ella erected a monument to Mother Barnes in nearby Sheldon Cemetery. “During the 50 years I made cheese here people were always coming in with stories about Mother Barnes.

Lera Joynt and other family members felt the same. Some years ago, they purchased the two acres with its original cabin, its apple trees, tumble-down barn and abandoned well. Lera and husband Percy re-shingled, the roof and cleaned up the grounds when they took over the property but it hasn’t weathered the years very well. Weeds have taken over, the roof sinks in and vandals have removed the original pine doors and smashed the windows.

The Witch of Plum Hollow has. served as title for a book by Thad Leavitt now out of print a musical show produced in Toronto and an oil painting by area artist Henry VyfinkeL The huge painting dominates his studio near Brockville.

“When I read that the last man hung in Brockville had been convicted of murder through her police assistance,” Vyfinkel recalled, “I believed there was something to what they were saying about her.” A seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, Mother Barnes was born Jane Elizabeth Martin in the County of Cork, Ireland, in November, 1800. She was the daughter of an Irish landowner of English descent who was a colonel in the British Army, and of an Irish woman of Spanish gypsy descent.

Although her father had arranged a marriage for her to a colonel friend of wealth and distinction, 20-year-old Elizabeth eloped on the night of her wedding with a ‘Canadian army sergeant, Robert Joseph Harrison. Disowned by her parents, the couple sailed to America where Elizabeth bore a son and became a widow at 27.

Several years later, she married shoemaker David Barnes, had six sons and three daughters and moved to Sheldon’s Corners near Plum Hollow in 1843. David left Elizabeth and several of the children to live in Smiths Falls with his son Sam, a blacksmith and Mother Barnes turned to fortune-telling to support the family. No explanation has ever been heard by the family as to why David walked out and his grave has never been located.

Mother Barnes success brought her fame and she moved to the small cabin near Lake Eloida. Countless stories are passed along of her predictions but the one referred to by artist Vyfinkel is perhaps the most famous. A local law enforcement officer consulted her regarding the mysterious disappearance of an English immigrant named Hunter. His friend reported the immigrant drowned, leading a search party to Charleston Lake without success. The story goes that Mother Barnes told the constable the man’s body was hidden under a fallen tree, partly submerged in water. The body was found and the friend charged with murder, found guilty and hanged in Brockville. Elizabeth Barnes was 91 when she died, leaving seven children and a legacy of love.

Plum Hollow was also famous for its Plum Hollow Cheese Factory from 1924 to 1982, which then became a chocolate factory, and was subsequently destroyed by fire in 2015. Known for the nine murals that made Athens famous by the late 1980s, the Township of Athens is rich in hist

An historic homestead

In 1892, local writer Thaddeus William Henry Leavitt published his short novel, The Witch of Plum Hollow, featuring Mother Barnes and her “sixth sense.” Today, her little cabin still stands behind a rail fence along Mother Barnes Road, just west of County Road 29. It’s on private property, and is posted with “No Trespassing” signs. Visitors cannot go inside, but they can park beside the road and have a look at this piece of the past along the back roads of Leeds County.

The Mural · December 7, 2016 ·  WHO WAS MOTHER BARNES?

By Sally Smid

Could it only have been a co-incidence that the Super Moon was in the sky the weekend of the Mother Barnes presentation in Athens? Re-enactor Elaine Farley began her talk at the Joshua Bates Center on Nov. 13th by refuting a myth about Mother Barnes with a quote from her grandchildren stating, “As far as we know she was an only daughter…but when she became famous, she told people she was a seventh daughter of a seventh daughter to add to her glamour.” It is also important to realize that Jane Elizabeth Barnes was “well read and had a full command of the English language” but there are no letters, diaries, or journals known to exist for public disclosure.

Census records show that she changed her religious affiliations and country of birth various times but it is believed that she was born in 1851 and had Irish origins. She was married several times, her last husband David Barnes left her with 7 children and moved to Smiths Falls with his son, Samuel, who later became the mayor.

In 1891 Mother Barnes was buried from the Methodist church in Farmersville, now Athens United Church. Elaine proposed that this changing information was perhaps “part of the mystery she was trying to create or was she moving from church to church to be accepted?”
She also spoke of the “fascination and fear about Mother Barnes’ abilities”, as the Brockville Recorder commented in April 20, 1876, “if she were to take it into her head to exercise her power for evil there is no knowing what mischief she might do.”
In 1865 the Herald newspaper of Carleton Place referred to her as “the old hag, who is said to live in Plumb Hollow” and talked of information “pointed out by the witch.” Thaddeus Leavitt, a former Brockville Recorder editor and historian, wrote a book in 1892, one year after she died, which he entitled The Witch of Plum Hollow. The 254 paged book makes only a brief reference to Mother Barnes on 8 pages and “was not at all about her”. Elaine speculated, “Was he counting on the mystery she had started to sell his book? Repeatedly, he was, and still is given credit for the term “Witch of Plum Hollow.”


It seems that she never tried to refute the “witchcraft” interpretation of much of her life’s work. It is interesting to consider how she may have received that label. The 19th century stereo type of witches, included that they were often widowed or deserted by their husbands and without male supervision, lived in rural areas, were of the lower class, cured illness, acted as mid-wives, and were independent. “Using this list, she was easily labeled a witch”, Elaine concluded.

When Upper Canada Village in 1969 and the Ontario Historical Society in 1988 said no to acquiring her property north of Athens because it did not “consider the site to be of historical significance”. Though the family struggled to hold on to it, the property was eventually sold. Her cabin has been restored and has been open to the public from time to time. The present owner has now decided to put it up for sale and, despite any rumors, it remains unsold.

Elaine’s abilities as a re-enactor and the detailed research that she has collected brought new insights and appreciation for this legendary woman. Though she has been called a “witch” it seems that she should be more suitably remembered as a kindly, compassionate and caring mother, neighbor and grandmother, who told fortunes and gave advice to help support her large family. The presence of her wooden table on the stage, where she used to tell her fortunes added further audience appeal and interest. It even has been said that John A. MacDonald came to inquire about where our nation’s new capital should be, adding real significance on the eve of Canada’s 150th birthday.

The event was well attended and proceeds went to the work of AAHS. It is the second in their speaker series for the season with famed Railway Bob coming to the JBC on March 26th to make a presentation on local railway history.

Re-enactor Elaine Farley stands behind Mother Barnes’ table as part of her recent presentation sponsored by the Athens and Area Heritage Society. Photo: Sally Smid — in Athens, Ontario

relatedreading

We Know About the Witch of Plum Hollow — But Have you Heard About Mother Lajeunesse?

Mother Barnes– The Colonel’s Daughter in Plum Hollow

An Interview with the Witch of Plum Hollow–Mother Barnes— The Ottawa Free Press 1891

The Witch of Plum Hollow and the Blacksmith

My Grandmother was Mother Barnes-The Witch of Plum Hollow

A Bewitched Bed in Odessa

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

Plum Hollow Witch and The Mountain Man of Pakenham

Different Seasons of Witches in Lanark County

Local Miracle Story– Woken From a Ten Week Coma

The White Witch of Lanark County–Having the Sight

The Witches of Rochester Street

Hocus Pocus –Necromancy at Fitch Bay

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

The Witch Hollow of Lanark County

When Mother Barnes Made a Mistake? Beckwith 6th Line

The Witch of Plum Hollow Files- An Evening in Smiths Falls

Mother Barnes and the Missing Money of South March

The Witch of Plum Hollow and the Blacksmith

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The Witch of Plum Hollow and the Blacksmith

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This is an actual hands on photo of Mother Barnes- The Witch of Plum Hollow we were shown at the last Lanark County Genealogical Society meeting,

Sunday was a dull day in Raglan township  (Renfrew County)and no one appeared to be going to church. There was no church, and the only religious services were held in the school house, the minister being a student from the Lutheran College, who made his headquarters at Mr. Yurt’s. When Sunday morning came the blacksmith’s friend  inquired the distance to a church, and a man in a joking mood, told me that it was fifteen miles, and he learned later it was about ten.

The man appeared very jovial concerning church affairs and informed the gentleman that all the ‘bairns were goot’ and did not go “zu Kirche.‘ Then he added that “my bairn vent vonce a year.”

In the afternoon the gentleman found his friend the blacksmith who was working at something and apparently putting his whole soul and consideration into the work. In another place Andy, the older blacksmith was making a whippletree or mending harness which was a difficult task.

He watched his friend for awhile and then asked what he was making. “I am trying to invent perpetual motion,” said he.  A very difficult thing to do, I should think said his friend.

‘Well.‘ said the smithy, “I think I can do it.” Then he added, in a joking way, I had Mrs. Barnes tell my fortune, and she told me I would not be successful. But she don’t know anything! She Is fraud! Just a minute, I will show you a letter that came from her.

Running upstairs, he got the letter, and. with an air of disgust at the contents, he carelessly tossed It over with the remark, ‘Read that. You will see she knows nothing.’ Then, indignantly, he added’ “Look what she says about my marriage. I never asked her any thing about marriage. I have as much notion of getting married as I have of hanging myself. I can hardly keep myself. I am here living with my sisters. I was hoping of getting into McLachlan’s shanty as a shoer but did not succeed.”

After he had finished his explanation his friend opened the letter and read it. He remembers the style of the handwriting which was fine and even indicating the writer was in a pensive mood. The ink was of old fashioned black ink.

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The letter said:

Dear sir,

I received your letter asking for information about your present undertaking. You will not be successful in your present work which is too difficult for you. You are working hard, but your surroundings afford you no opportunities to combine your work in order to be successful. You will be married to a young lady whom you have never seen.

Your marriage will take place in the early part of the present year. The first part of the letter is true, but I have my doubts of the second part.

Mrs. Barnes

The blacksmith seemed to be indignant about the matrimonial part and added that it was *money thrown away when he wrote her. She knows nothing, he said.

This incident was in February and about a month later Mr. McPhee, storekeeper for McLachlin’s and stationed at Palmer Rapids two miles distant was in need of a housekeeper. A pretty young “Gretchen” of nineteen came from Killaloe to apply for the housekeeper job. She was neat and tidy and generally wore high-coloured dresses, sometimes profusely frilled. The young blacksmith was captivated and it needed no prophet to sea that Cupid’s darts were flying thick and fast. Finally the climax came and they were married in May.

Everyone was asked to the wedding, and as his friend congratulated the young blacksmith he remarked,

“Mrs. Barnes evidently knew what she was talking about.”

” It looks that way now.” he said, “but then I could not believe it.”

historicalnotes

*Mrs. Barnes Fees were 25 cents

 

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This was posted on the Tales of Carleton Place yesterday by Jim Hicks and Doug B. McCarten said Jim Hicks it was extensively restored by the previous owner who just (I guess) sold it! She did a remarkable job! My family is very grateful to her for it had previously fallen into disrepair! She ran it as a museum dedicated to Granny Barnes memory. I wonder what will happen to it now? (home of the Witch of Plum Hollow)

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

relatedreading

An Interview with the Witch of Plum Hollow–Mother Barnes— The Ottawa Free Press 1891

My Grandmother was Mother Barnes-The Witch of Plum Hollow

A Bewitched Bed in Odessa

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

Different Seasons of Witches in Lanark County

Plum Hollow Witch and The Mountain Man of Pakenham

The Witches of Rochester Street

Hocus Pocus –Necromancy at Fitch Bay

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

The Witch Hollow of Lanark County

Who was Mother Barnes? Find Out About the Witch of Plum Hollow April 7

Local Miracle Story– Woken From a Ten Week Coma

The White Witch of Lanark County–Having the Sight

 

Mother Barnes– Grandpa Samuel Barnes

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Mother Barnes– Grandpa Samuel Barnes

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Once upon a time, the world beat a path to the door of a tiny log cabin some 20 kilometres south of here. The great and the not-so-great came to consult Mother Elizabeth Barnes, the legendary. Witch of Plum Hollow. In her mysterious attic room, she received neighbors and politicians seeking advice on everything from lost sheep and lost loves to lost seats in Parliament. Plum Hollow still sees its share of visitors but they’re more intent on purchasing fresh curd from the Plum Hollow Cream and Cheese Co-op than on having their tea leaves read. Few are aware that near the shore of nearby Lake Eloida the derelict abode of the Witch of Plum Hollow sits empty, ravaged by time and vandals. . However for three generations of Joynt women, descendants of Mother Barnes, a visit to the tiny cabin shortly before Halloween proved a sentimental journey of sorts. Lera Joynt, daughter Carol, 11-year-old Susan Joynt and Lisa Joynt, 14, had varied reactions to the forlorn cottage.

“I recall Grandpa Samuel Barnes telling of hitching up the horses for the long ride from Smiths Falls to Plum Hollow,” Lera reminisced. Sam, one of Barnes’ nine children, was a blacksmith and mayor of Smiths Falls in 1906. Her daughter Carol felt a strong bond with her famous ancestor. Mother Barnes ‘gift’ to foresee the future appeared in every generation, she said. Lisa and Susan, daughters of Witch of Plum Hollow Painted by Henry Vyfinkel well-known farmer and auctioneer John Joynt, were fascinated. With visions of bats, broomsticks and black cats racing through their heads, they gingerly tip-toed through the debris. “There’s an old piece of wood in here that’s marked made in 1805,” Susan called out excitedly. Lisa reported with disappointment the rickety old stairs were gone. “I’ll come back in my old clothes and climb up there,” she told her grandmother. “I want to see the room where Mother Barnes read the tea leaves for all those people.” Lera Joynt’ disapproves of the dubious title of witch applied to her ancestor. “We don’t like it at all. Her kindly advice and honest predictions helped countless numbers of people.” . -1 Over at Plum Hollow Cheese factory, Claude Flood explains why he and his late wife Ella erected a monument to Mother Barnes in nearby Sheldon Cemetery.

“During the SO years I made cheese here people were always coming in with stories about Mother Barnes. Lera Joynt and other family members felt the same. Some years ago, they purchased the two acres with its original cabin, its apple trees, tumble-down barn and abandoned well. Lera and husband Percy re-shingled, the roof and cleaned up the grounds when they took over the property but it hasn’t weathered the years very well. Weeds have taken over, the roof sinks in and vandals have removed the original pine doors and smashed the windows. The Witch of Plum Hollow has. served as title for a book by Thad Leavitt now out of print a musical show produced in Toronto and an oil painting by area artist Henry VyfinkeL The huge painting dominates his studio near Brockville. “When I read that the last man hung in Brockville had been convicted of murder through her police assistance,” Vyfinkel recalled, “I believed there was something to what they were saying about her.” A seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, Mother Barnes was born Jane Elizabeth Martin in the County of Cork, Ireland, in November, 1800. She was the daughter of an Irish landowner of English descent who was a colonel in the British Army, and of an Irish woman of Spanish gypsy descent.

Although her father had arranged a marriage for her to a colonel friend of wealth and distinction, 20-year-old Elizabeth eloped on the night of her wedding with a ‘Canadian army sergeant, Robert Joseph Harrison. Disowned by her parents, the couple sailed to America where Elizabeth bore a son and became a widow at 27. Several years later, she married shoemaker David Barnes, had six sons and three daughters and moved to Sheldon’s Corners near Plum Hollow in 1843. David left Elizabeth and several of the children to live in Smiths Falls with his son Sam, a blacksmith and Mother Barnes turned to fortune-telling to support the family. No explanation has ever been heard by the family as to why David walked out and his grave has never been located. Mother Barnes success brought her fame and she moved to the small cabin near Lake Eloida. Countless stories are passed along of her predictions but the one referred to by artist Vyfinkel is perhaps the most famous.

A local law enforcement officer consulted her regarding the mysterious disappearance of an English immigrant named Hunter. His friend reported the immigrant drowned, leading a search party to Charleston Lake without success. The story goes that Mother Barnes told the constable the man’s body was hidden under a fallen tree, partly submerged in water. The body was found and the friend charged with murder, found guilty and hanged in Brockville. Elizabeth Barnes was 91 when she died, leaving seven children and a legacy of love

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Who was Mother Barnes? Find Out About the Witch of Plum Hollow April 7 Only 100 seats available!

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Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

relatedreading

An Interview with the Witch of Plum Hollow–Mother Barnes— The Ottawa Free Press 1891

My Grandmother was Mother Barnes-The Witch of Plum Hollow

A Bewitched Bed in Odessa

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

Plum Hollow Witch and The Mountain Man of Pakenham

Different Seasons of Witches in Lanark County

Local Miracle Story– Woken From a Ten Week Coma

The White Witch of Lanark County–Having the Sight

The Witches of Rochester Street

Hocus Pocus –Necromancy at Fitch Bay

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

The Witch Hollow of Lanark County

An Interview with the Witch of Plum Hollow–Mother Barnes— The Ottawa Free Press 1891

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An Interview with the Witch of Plum Hollow–Mother Barnes— The Ottawa Free Press 1891

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This was a copy of an article from the Ottawa Free Press, March 16, 1891 sent to me by Doug B. McCarten typed out by the late Hilda Buchanan McRostie (Perth Museum). Thanks Doug for your support! They were close relatives to her..his great grandmother

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This is an actual hands on photo we were shown at the last Lanark County Genealogical Society meeting,.

relatedreading

The Plum Hollow Witch 101 – Mother Barnes

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

The Witch Hollow of Lanark County

When Mother Barnes Made a Mistake? Beckwith 6th Line

The Witch of Plum Hollow Files- An Evening in Smiths Falls

Mother Barnes and the Missing Money of South March

Mother Barnes– The Colonel’s Daughter in Plum Hollow

An Interview with the Witch of Plum Hollow–Mother Barnes— The Ottawa Free Press 1891

The Witch of Plum Hollow and the Blacksmith

My Grandmother was Mother Barnes-The Witch of Plum Hollow

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

Plum Hollow Witch and The Mountain Man of Pakenham

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My Grandmother was Mother Barnes-The Witch of Plum Hollow

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My Grandmother was Mother Barnes-The Witch of Plum Hollow

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Circa 1940s Copper Cliff, outside Sudbury

When Roy Barnes dean of the file room at Copper Cliff steps out of Inco Service he says that when he retires he might buy himself a crystal ball, a turban with a big jewel and he will hang out a shingle that says he is a sorcerer. Not that he has any desire to be burnt at the stake or boiled in oil– but his Grandmother was Mother Barnes, the Witch of Plum Hollow.

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He remembers the little whitewash log cabin where the attic was up under the eaves and she read secrets of the past and future in tea leaves. Rich or poor lovelorn maidens or politicians, they all came to see her and her fame spread far and wide.  Jane Elizabeth Martin/Mother Barnes was of a gypsy stock, the 7th daughter of a 7th daughter, and was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1794. When she was 18 her father tried to force her into an arranged marriage to a man of his own age but Elizabeth fled the country with the man of her choice Robert Joseph Harrison and came to America. Needless to say her family disowned her.

They happily settled in New York and had a son, Robert Harrison, Jr.. and were happy until two years later when her husband died. Four years later she remarried and became Mrs. David Barnes and moved to Canada settling in Sheldon’s corners/ Plum Hollow near Athens which is about 15 miles south of Smiths Falls. Together they had nine children; six sons and three daughters. Their two oldest sons, John and Thomas, died as young children. David wasn’t the most reliable of fellas, and the shoemaker drifted away when their children were still small.  He took their youngest son, David, with him and moved to Smiths Falls, where the two stayed with an older son, Sam, who had ten children of his own. After being absent for several years Elizabeth turned to her gift of fortune telling to finance the life of her family. She never accepted more than her usual fee of 25 cents.

At first she acquired a local reputation for finding lost articles, but the stories of powers increased. She found lost animals, missing money and found a missing dead body that had been hidden in the waters of Lake Charleston pinned under a fallen tree by a murderer.

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Roy Barnes remembers his Grandmother being a small woman, slender with flashing dark eyes, and slim hands with long tapered fingers. She always wore a dark dress with a cape or shawl and frequently make dried apples and tea. Many stories could be told of her magic but sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between reality and legend. She died in 1886 at the age of either 92 or 93 and her last resting place is in the northwest corner of the cemetery at Sheldon’s where three sons and several grandchildren are also buried.

One of her sons was Samuel, born in 1838 married Agnes Chalmers and they settled in Smiths Falls where 10 children were born to them. Of these the youngest was Roy C. Barnes who was a resident of Copper Cliff  from September of 1910 until he died.

historicalnotes

Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  14 Nov 1945, Wed,  Page 8

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  05 Nov 1963, Tue,  Page 2 Doug McCarten also sent me this article.. Thanks Doug!!

Clipped from The Winnipeg Tribune,  17 Feb 1891, Tue,  Page 1

As much mystery surrounds Elizabeth Barnes now, more than 100 years after her death, as during her lifetime. Some sources show her date of birth simply as 1794 and her death date as 1886, while others claim that she was born on November 5, 1800 and died on February 10, 1891. Genealogical research has been unable to confirm or deny these dates.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

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A Bewitched Bed in Odessa

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

Different Seasons of Witches in Lanark County

The Witches of Rochester Street

Hocus Pocus –Necromancy at Fitch Bay

The Witch of Plum Hollow – Carleton Place Grandmother

The Witch Hollow of Lanark County

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I have been writing about downtown Carleton Place Bridge Street for months and this is something I really want to do. Come join me in the Domino’s Parking lot- corner Lake Ave and Bridge, Carleton Place at 11 am Saturday September 16 (rain date September 17) for a free walkabout of Bridge Street. It’s history is way more than just stores. This walkabout is FREE BUT I will be carrying a pouch for donations to the Carleton Place Hospital as they have been so good to me. I don’t know if I will ever do another walking tour so come join me on something that has been on my bucket list since I began writing about Bridge Street. It’s always a good time–trust me.

Are You Ready to Visit the Open Doors?

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